Belenenses demand rematch with Benfica after Omicron-hit side lost 7-0 with just nine players including two keepers

COVID-HIT Belenenses have demanded a rematch after their clash with Benfica ended in a farcical abandonment.

The Portuguese minnows could field just nine men after 17 of their squad were struck down by the virus – with an outbreak of the feared Omicron variant in the camp.

Despite the staggering numerical disadvantage, club president Rui Pedro Soares refused to postpone Saturday’s game.

But he was later seen in tears at half-time as his side went into the break 7-0 down against the Primeira Liga heavyweights.

Only seven Belenenses players emerged for the second half – the minimum required for the game to continue.

Moments later keeper Joao Monteiro – who was forced to play outfield – hoofed the ball out and sat down, claiming he was injured.

At that point ref Manuel Mota abandoned the match.

Now the club have written to league bosses to demand the fixture be played again.

They claim Portuguese top flight rules do not say what should happen if a ref stops a game before full-time.

That means the result should not stand and the game should be played again, according to the relegation-threatened side.

The appeal comes as Portuguese health officials confirmed 13 Omicron cases in the country – all linked to Belenenses.

Belenenses midfielder Cafu Phete recently returned from international duty in South Africa – whose scientists helped identify the new variant.

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